De Lille announces homeless project

2011-05-09 12:58

Democratic Alliance mayoral candidate Patricia de Lille has pledged to make street people a priority of her administration if elected.

“I would make helping the homeless people of the city a special mayoral project for the first three years of my administration,” she said.

De Lille acknowledged that Cape Town’s current administration had put measures in place during the past five years to prioritise the plight of street people in the city, and that some significant progress had been made and unique achievements recorded.

“It is important that we build a caring city in which everyone who needs help receives it, and an inclusive city where everyone has a stake in the future. A special mayoral project would ensure that the most marginalised members of our society have their special needs attended to.”

If elected, she would implement a six-point programme to help homeless people, De Lille said.

Among other things, a one-stop assessment centre would be created to help people get access to necessary services. The city already owned a building that could be used for this purpose in Woodstock. “Part of my mayoral project would see the city provide this centre with resources so that people who need the most help, usually those who appear time and again in community courts, can break the cycle of their usual habits without going to prison and can get the social help they need.”

The network of outreach workers would also be expanded, and the number of NGO umbrella organisations sitting on the homeless people portfolio committee increased to six.

De Lille said she would double the number of people in the Displaced Persons Unit (DPU). This unit, which fell under law enforcement, currently had 13 people working in it who dealt specifically with the problems that arose because of homelessness.

Training and orientating the DPU towards playing a social developmental role would continue.

Finally, R1.25 million would be allocated over the next two years to the alcohol diversion programme. “This fledgling pilot programme which has been running for the last three years aims to help people who experience serious problems of substance abuse. My project would give NGOs more funds to run the programmes,” she said.

Building the inclusive and caring city required time.

“In building that city, however, we should not forget those who have often been left behind by society more generally.

“This six-point programme would be building on the great work the previous DA administration has already done to help homeless people,” De Lille said.

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